It hasn’t even been 24 hours since we first news of Khris Middleton’s torn hamstring, and already Bucks fans are busy working their way through the five stages of sports fan grief
So where the do Bucks go from here? Aside from, uh, Michael Beasley? Well, with Middleton set to be sidelined for an estimated six months, we sought to deal with the loss the only way we know how: by talking in painful detail about our immediate reactions (feelings!), who the Bucks might use to fill Middleton’s multi-talented tools (???), and whether the Bucks will (and should) make a move in response. BEHOLD OUR (pre-Beasley) CATHARSIS:
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First and foremost, let’s get this straight: there is no replacing Khris Middleton. As we mentioned in the podcast, he was by far the Bucks’ leader in net on/off rating (+12.4 points/100 better with him on court vs. off) and ranked among the league’s best shooting guards in both offensive and overall RPM, which makes sense for a guy who was arguably the Bucks’ most versatile and consistent offensive and defensive player.
But Middleton is now gone with what seems to be the world’s most horrific hamstring injury (six months!), a cruel blow even if shooting guard wasn’t the Bucks’ weakest bench position. As a result, if the Bucks are going to make moves you’d hope they’d simply be moves they’d want to make anyway. It’s been floated that the Beasley deal falls into that category, but hopefully a move for a shooting guard would have potential long-term value (the Bucks needed another wing shooter even before Middleton got hurt) rather than simply be a quick-fix.
Considering the Bucks’ other options at the two, Jason Kidd will need all of his coaching creativity, a fair amount of duct tape, and perhaps a hastily-organized and peyote-fueled vision quest to find some passable solutions. As we note on the podcast, Matthew Dellavedova has to start, while MCW figures to see his minutes take a major bump regardless of whether he starts or not. Rookie Malcolm Brogdon and Jason Terry also figure to be in the mix, especially with Ennis now out of the picture.
As weird as it is to say it, Kidd could also opt to go big in Middleton’s absence, possibly by sliding Jabari Parker and Giannis Antetokounmpo down from the forward spots to the wing. That would mean more room for Mirza Teletovic and now Beasley, though none of us would argue Giannis’ best usage is at the two. Still, desperate times call for desperate measures, and the Bucks’ lineups figure to be as funky as ever. Will funky translate into an improbably playoff run? Doubtful. Might it mean fun and interesting to watch? Fingers crossed.